Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Jimi Cup 2015

5 rides each... Whoever spends the most time underwater wins!

Jimi Cup 2015
Welcome to the Jimi Cup. This weekend a crew of paddlers came from around the world to take place in the annual Jimi Cup competition at the site of the 2015 ICF World Championships. A pure squirt boat mystery move competition, the Jimi Cup, is all about downtime. With each competitor getting 5 attempts at doing a mystery move and the paddler with the highest combined total of seconds under water taking the win.

A mystery move involves a paddler sinking their boat and body beneath the river and travelling underwater for as long as they can. In a mystery competition the time starts when the top of their helmet disappears and stops when it reappears again.

Claire O taking the last breathe before a drop
Squirt Boating is a super specialist but highly addictive form of whitewater kayaking. Done by an elite crew of highly skilled kayakers, around the world. Described by many as one of their favourite forms of whitewater kayaking and compared regularly to flying and scuba diving without a tank. This years Jimi Cup mystery event drew paddlers from all across Canada and the USA and as far a field as Japan, Norway, Sweden and the UK together to compete. Many of them National team paddlers training for the forthcoming ICF World Championship event.

Judges and spectators watch the action

Over the course of the day records were smashed and new standards were set. Andy Grizzell took home the trophy with a well desired win spending an insane total of 150 seconds underwater during his 5 rides. Not only setting a new Jimi Cup combined score record but also setting a new longest single ride scores hitting two rides at 34 seconds plus. Potentially maxing out limit of what is possible at this site!!! We will have to wait until next summer to find out.

Pre comp snacks
Jimi Cup champion Andy BDK Grizzell in the red PFD

In the ladies it was the biggest Jimi Cup class yet with 6 female competitors from 5 countries!!! 5 of whom got head under rides. Hitomi Takahu hitting her first 19 second ride in a competiton and Claire O'Hara hitting two 19 second rides to finish first in the ladies and 5th overall.

A fun international crew of ladies

The whole event was a great showcase of skill, determination and control as the paddlers worked the underwater currents and flows to keep their boats submerged deep below the Ottawa rivers surface. Fighting whirlpools, eddy lines, the main flow of the river and the natural urge to breathe. With a feisty hole marking the start of  a class 3+ rapid  it is a intimidating spot but with one of the smoothest drops it is well known as one of the worlds top spots.

The results are in

On top of all of this the day was made even better by the presence of whitewater legend and founder of the sport of squirt boating Jim Snyder (the event is named in his honour) who made the journey north from West Virginia (USA) to compete at the event. Jim spent the weekend helping coach and encourage all the paddlers as well as sharing the history and ethos of the sport and of course showing them all how it should be done. Interestingly every competitor competing was in a Jim Snyder designed boats.

Jim Snyder with the current World Champions
Claire O'Hara and Clay Wright

Then to finish the day off and make it all the more special at the end of the event many of the paddlers gave up their boats to allow some of the top freestyle kayakers from around the world who had come to support and watch the event the chance to jump in and have a go. It a very special thing to see someone experience a mystery move for the first time. Coming up to the surface after a head under ride beaming with a massive smile yet with a mix of emotions (fear, excitement and shock) across their face. Instantly addicted and wanting to get straight back in and give it another shot.

Bren Orton (UK) gets his first mystery rides

Here is a clip of one of my rides from the comp

If your wondering what we get up to heres an awesome video by Stephen Wright to show a bit more of what its like under the water during the ride.

This is Squirt Boating 'The Mystery Move'

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Idaho Life: Making the most of every minute of every day

Lake Cascade at Sunset
What did you do today? Here's what I got up to in just one day this summer in Idaho... 7.30am Wake up, 7.45am Yoga, 8.15am Core Workout, 8.45 Breakfast, 9.30am Teach kids to Kayak, 12 noon meet friends for lunch, 1pm teach more kids to kayak, 4pm surf and freestyle at the park, 5pm tandem bike ride 16km through the mountains to meet friends for dinner, 7pm eat an amazing steak at Buffalo Grills. 9pm Wake surf all night watching the sun set under the full moon on Cascade lake with music blaring from an amazing boat, 11.03pm drive home, 12pm sleep! 

Tandem bike ride adventures
(please note we did wear helmets for the ride)

Wake Surfing under the full moon
One of my favourite places on my USA tours has to be Idaho not just because, of the Kelly's White Water Park, Payette River games and Kelly's Academy but also because of all the other fun activities I get to do when I'm in town.

Mad Adventures

In Amazing places

with Awesome friends
Idaho is an adventure paradise especially around the Cascade, McCall and Tamarrack areas. With big mountains, rivers and lakes everywhere there so much to do. Add to this the fact that each summer when I head into town I'm joined by the Kelly's Academy team and a great group of friends who live locally. It's the recipe for 3 weeks of non stop fun. 

Watching the sunrise and sunset over the lake
From morning workouts and yoga, to kayaking on the Salmon and Payette rivers, stand up paddle boarding at the park and out on the lake,. Wake surfing and wake kayaking behind incredible big boats, surfing sharks and dolphins, watching incredible sunsets , stars, planets and the full moon. Tandem bike riding through the mountains and valleys, driving the mountains in search of snow then stopping to having snow ball flight, watching big fireworks shows from a awesome boat in the middle of the lake, slingshotting fireworks of the back of the same boat, hosting our own mini fireworks display at the park, visiting ER, loads of friends and the local hot springs. Playing cards, sharing stories, taking photos, making videos, chilling around a fire, and eating amazing food, a non stop role of BBQ's and epic meals with great friends. It was the perfect way to spend every hour outside of the Academy. Bring on 2016.

including .... Mountain goat spotting

Wake Surfing

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Sharkie Wake Surfing
Breaking things and fixing things

Kayak Wake Surfing

Firework displays

Snowball fights

Mountain Adventures

Epic meals including Bow and Arrow caught Elk steaks
Did I mention Wake surfing ?

Crazy beautiful scenery

and of course kayaking :)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

This is Squirt Boating - Part 3

Its time for the third round of the 'This is Squirt Boating' videos. This time we are looking at six moves a mixture of fun and easy and super fun yet harder tricks including two of my favorite moves the Party Trick and the Washout

The Grind

The Spin

The Stern Screw

The Washout

The Splitwheel

The Party Trick & Zero to Hero

Although these moves are being done in a squirt boat the same concepts and movements apply in a freestyle kayak.

Enjoy watching and learning this super fun variety of moves.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Golds Hole

Claire O clean blunts the shoulder

Set in the beautiful Salmon valley is a sick surf wave called Golds Hole. Golds hole a wave? you may ask! Well it's true at the current levels it is an amazing surf wave. With a sweet pile and perfect green face it is an incredible wave.

Golds Hole
So with the levels low on the Payette and SUP paddlers everywhere it became a great excursion site and training ground for me, Clay and the Vorhees boys. Every chance we got we jumped int the cars and set off on the 2 1/2 hour drive along the beautiful valley and deep into the Salmon gorge. 

Working on the airscrew
To say this place is stunning is an understatement. It is no surprise it is renowned as one of the best rivers to explore. We surfed every session till almost dark and then enjoyed watching the sunset from our beach camp spot along the river banks. Walking again to get up go out and surf some more. It's incredible watching Clay, Alec and Hayden throw down. Big move after big move. Enjoying every moment and cheering each other on.

Flying high
Then on our last session of the season just before the levels dropped. I got to paddle with a good friend and top local paddler Devon Barker as well as with Surf and SUP pro Chuck Glynn. The levels soon dropped and as the wave disappeared and it turned back into Golds Hole we drove a few miles down the valley and had a smashing end to the session. Trying to surf it on a short board. Don't watch this video if your Squimish

Friday, July 10, 2015

Kellys Academy

From complete beginner, to surfing, running rapids and hitting combat rolls in just 4 days and there only 10 years old!

Fisher (11) runs through the top feature

The Kelly's White Water Park is renowned for its incredible freestyle features, beautiful location and for playing host to the Payette River Games. What is often not known though is what happens at the park every summer after the games.
The park was built in memory of Kelly Brennan to spread and share her love for the outdoors. As part of its legacy its founders pledged to provide free sporting opportunities to the kids from the local community so every year the park runs 'The Kellys Academy' and brings in some of the top athletes from around the world to teach the local kids water sports.

Kayaking : Hudson (13) 
Surfing : Trinity (13)
Stand Up Paddling : Anika (12)

Mark and Kristina Pickard with some of the Academy kids
The Academy is a fully inclusive programme that is open to all the school kids in the surrounding towns of Cascade and McCall. The kids are taught by World Champions, National Champions and local super stars the sports of their choice (Kayak, Surf and Stand Up Paddle Board).

Surfs up

Jack (14) Stand Up Surfing the middle feature
Learning to stay calm in the white stuff

Sailor (10) tandem surf edge training
The Vorhees rolling clinic

The Academy has run for several years since the park first opened up and its programme has had a lot of success. Not only in getting 100s of kids engaged into these sports but also in opening their eyes to the opportunities available in life and the beauty and adventure that is available to them on their own door step as well as further afield.

The next generation Will (10)

Developing the kids social, physical and personal skills. The instructors work with them building their confidence and self esteem. They also work to educate both the kids and there family's on how to stay safe around the water, lakes and rivers that surround them in this part of Idaho.

River Safety training
This year is my second year working the academy and it is a pleasure to be a part of it again. Many kids have come back from last summer as well as a lot of new faces too. Every day we get up early head to the park and find the kids there, all ready dressed and with their paddling kit out, ready to go.  

Jessica (11) surfs the top feature
We have an incredible team of coaches and work with super low ratios which enables us to fast track and develop the kids skills in just a week or two. So much so that by the end of the Academy each kids able to swim and paddle the rapids and surf the waves as there heroes and idols did at the PRGs only weeks or days before. They learn river safety, rescues, technical moves and skills including white water rolls. It is an exceptional programme that really benefits each young person and the community as a whole. It is incredible to see each kid grow with confidence and excitement each and every day as they reach their personal challenges and goals and thrive from being active in the outdoors.
This is what its all about
Chuck shows Jacob (14) the line 
It's is an honour and privileged to be able to share my passion and knowledge of the river with the next generation here in Idaho.

Heres the link to the full collection of my favourite photos from the 2015 Kellys Academy

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Glenwood Springs Surfing

Deep in the heart of Colorado there is an awesome river surf wave called Glenwood Springs. 

Flashbacks galore

This year I finally got to paddle here for the first time and had prime water levels for the best part of the week.

Working on Flip Turns and Helixs 

Glenwood Springs Colorado

Over the week I got to throw some sweet rides with some super complex moves sessioning Helix's, clean blunts, airscrews, pan ams, back pan ams. It was so much fun and just got me super excited again for worlds.

Massive thanks to Peter Holcombe for this amazing
profile shot taken by the river after a training session

Here's a little quick video of some of my moves from my week at Glenwood